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The State of Business Intelligence

There's a transformational change going on in business intelligence. Next-generation BI promises speedier, automated decision-making, thanks to affordable computing and storage platforms and advances in business activity monitoring. We assess

   

Let the politicians debate ad nauseam whether isolationism works in the global arena. The argument's been settled on the business-infrastructure front: No information system is an island, and he who depends on outdated data loses market share. Business intelligence vendors must release products that mesh with these realities if they expect to expand their empires.

And the territory is certainly there for the grabbing: A poll released last month by our sister publication InformationWeek showed nearly half of the 500 IT professionals surveyed plan to increase spending on software for viewing and analyzing business information from 2006 levels).

Forrester says BI platform revenues will reach $7.3 billion by 2008, and CIOs surveyed by Gartner identified BI as their No. 2 technology priority last year, up from No. 10 in 2004. Despite this, analysts have long puzzled over the relatively low penetration rate of BI tools, generally pegged at less than 20 percent of potential customers.

Why the disconnect? After all, BI suites provide the platforms from which critical data is aggregated, searched, presented and analyzed. Sure, it's a complex process. Data must be pulled from disparate sources, such as ERP, order entry and inventory management. But up-to-date information is the lifeblood of business. How can four out of five not be buying in?

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